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Last November, I bought quite a few teas from Yee On Tea in Hong Kong. I have already written about some of them, but the 2013 Ban Zhang Old Arbor sheng puerh is a tea I wanted to drink today. I didn’t buy a full cake because I only purchased a 25g sample.
2013 Ban Zhang Old Arbor
The 2013 Ban Zhang Old Arbor sheng puerh is made using 2013 material supposedly from the Ban Zhang area in Yunnan province. The trees are located at an altitude of around 1,800m above sea level and were picked in early spring. It was pressed using stone weights, so it’s not machine-pressed. This is something I noticed when taking a closer look at the leaves and chunks I received. They were quite easy to pick apart.
- 99°C water
- 6g for a 140ml LQER Wuhuini teapot
The leaves are really large and I also see quite a few buds. The colour is dark brown with lighter brown buds. When smelling the leaves, I’m definitely picking up aged notes, dry wood and a touch of spices. Once the leaves get wet, I’m also getting a hint of smoke and some fruity top notes.
Infusion 1 (15 sec): the colour is fairly light orange, but the flavours are noticeable already. Some bubbles are flowing in my cup and it looks thick. I’m getting a hint of wet forest in combination with spices that stick to my throat. This really feels like a tea to drink in winter.
Infusion 2 (20 sec): the colour of this infusion is a darker kind of orange. I’m still getting notes of a wet forest but there is more going on than just that. The aftertaste is stronger as well. Half a minute after swallowing, a decent and sweet fruitiness manifests itself. During the infusion, I’m getting some smokey flavours with a spicy twist. I’m usually not a big fan of smokey teas but this one is pleasant. The combination of the infusion and aftertaste was so good.
Infusion 3 (25 sec): this one has a beautiful copper colour. The smokiness is more intense right from the start. It feels just right during the infusion because it’s smokey with a touch of sweet berries. However, the aftertaste also has a smokiness to it but that one is too intense for me.
Infusion 4 (25 sec): I did another infusion of 25 seconds to see if the strong smokiness would be the same. Luckily, it doesn’t have the same intensity in the aftertaste. Fruity notes have moved to the front and are more dominant. There is still a smokiness in the aftertaste but it’s a lot more enjoyable than infusion 3. This one also feels fruitier with smoke in the undertone and not the other way around like it was the case in the previous one.
Infusion 5 (30 sec): it’s good and nicely balanced right from the start. There is a subtle smokiness in combination with berries. The aftertaste is not that strong and it has a certain astringency to it.
Infusion 6 (35 sec): the colour hasn’t changed that much and the smokiness has diminished a lot. I’m getting a subtle fruitiness with a touch of smoke. This is a really good infusion; the best one so far.
Infusion 7 (40sec): it’s getting more subtle. The fruitiness has become brighter and has muted the smokiness.
The 2013 Ban Zhang Old Arbor sheng puerh is a really interesting tea. Based on the aroma, I expected the session to be completely different.
I got a strong smokiness throughout the first part of the session. This gradually diminished towards the end. There were also fruity notes and those got more intense towards the end. At some point, the smokiness got a bit too intense for me, especially during the aftertaste. I prefer the later infusions over the early ones.
If you want to try the 2013 Ban Zhang Old Arbor yourself, you can buy it over here.